Monday, June 27, 2016

My Custom TheBalm Eyeshadow Palette: Swatches & Review


If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I was in California earlier this month which partially explains why I've been so quiet on here in the last few weeks. I still have to edit the photos I took from that trip to do a proper travel recap. But in the mean time I wanted to show you the makeup souvenir I purchased for myself while I was in San Francisco.

TheBalm is well known for their cheekily named eyeshadow palettes but did you know they sell individual shadows as well? You can order them online but the swatches on the website aren't great and not many people have reviewed the individual shadows. Awhile back I saw on Reddit that TheBalm has a flagship in their home city so I made my way to Valencia Street to see the eyeshadows in person.


The store itself is really adorable in true TheBalm fashion. The boutique is small but not cramped at all with ample room to explore and try products on. They also provide services like brow grooming and waxing. The right wall of the store is dedicated to the build-your-own-palette stations. The shop assistants were all really pleasant and not suffocating at all. They let you play at your own pace and don't badger you with unnecessary talk which I really appreciate.


You can choose to buy the shadows individually for $6.50 each, a 9-pan shadow palette for $44 or a 16-pan shadow palette for $64. There are five different palette designs in each size to choose from. Obviously if you break down the price of the palettes, the 16-pan one is the most cost effective per shadow. But I didn't love 16 shades to build such a behemoth of a palette. It's probably no surprise that the shades I chose are all quite wearable shades.


Each eyeshadow refill is packaged separately and to my dismay, these don't have proper names and only numbers. It makes it a lot harder to remember eyeshadow names when they're simply random numbers. Another issue with the names is that there's a little sticker on the back of each metal pan with the number but when you open the plastic packaging that seals the entire pan, it will inevitably rip off the sticker with the name.... I've had to write the numbers back in and I just don't love the way that looks so I hope TheBalm figures out a better way to get the names on each eyeshadow. Each pan contains 3.4 grams (.12 oz) of product which is double the standard eyeshadow from Mac and Urban Decay. So you're getting a lot of shadow for the price you're paying here.


As soon as we got back to our Airbnb, I excitedly popped my shadows into their places. I love that it's really easy to put the magnetized pans into the palette and the grooves make it easy to take them out again. These pans magnetize to a ZPalette with no extra magnets or accessories needed.

You'll see that almost all the shades I chose were shimmers. I was disappointed to see only a couple of matte colors to choose from. I was looking for a warm matte midtone brown to serve as a staple crease transition color but there was none to be found. I had to settle for #44 which is more cool toned than what I'd prefer.


All the shadows I chose have very fine shimmers in them but there were definitely a few colors with larger glitter particles in them. I'm a sucker for warm peaches and browns so #21, #10 and #6 are right up my alley. I wanted to throw in some color so I picked out a couple of lavender shades in the form of #32 and #20. I really like #28, a beautiful plum, and #19 the cool toned taupe as well. Though, to be honest, none of the shadows are really blowing my mind in terms of something I haven't already seen before. If I really looked through my collection and swatched shadows all over my arms, I'd likely be able to find some good dupes for these shades.


Here is another look at the swatches in less direct sunlight. These shadows are pigmented but also very soft - they don't have that ultra opaque metallic finish that you get from Urban Decay. They also don't have the creaminess of Lorac shadows. I don't own any TheBalm palettes (yet) so unfortunately I can't compare these to those. The finish of these shadows is reminiscent of the shadows I own from Rouge Bunny Rouge. The shimmers are sophisticated and understated. You should definitely wear an eyeshadow primer before applying these shadows. I didn't the first time I wore these and the creasing was very apparent after a few hours.

While not the end all and be all of eyeshadows, I'm happy with my custom TheBalm palette. The eyeshadow formula is not the rich, buttery formula that many brands like Urban Decay and Anastasia Beverly Hills are known for. But if you appreciate a more natural look, you will probably really like these TheBalm singles. Did you know TheBalm sold individual eyeshadows? Would you consider making a custom palette?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Panning Lately: From Dior to the Drugstore


Having amassed more makeup than I realistically can use up, I frequently change up my routine to keep things interesting. So it's not very common that I hit pan, much less use up an entire tube or compact of something.

There's a happiness that accompanies the elusive sliver of shiny pan. To me, it signifies money well spent and it frees up room in my makeup inventory. I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I wouldn't be embarking on a particular Project Pan or Use-It-Up type challenge. But these three products have been living on my vanity recently and they've been surprisingly easy to pan since I've been relying on them so much.

I've been using the Dior Creme de Rose Lipbalm every morning because it moisturizes my lips and has SPF. This is kind of a cop out because it's kind of more like skincare - but I want to include it here anyway. It's great by itself as a lipbalm and under lip products as well. At $28, I'll likely look for a less expensive lipbalm when I'm done with this one though. But if I don't find something else that I like better, I'd consider getting this again. It smells nice but not overwhelming and the texture is emollient without being too slippery or sticky at all.

I dug out the Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer a couple weeks ago and have found it hard to put down. It's actually surprising because when I reviewed it back in 2014, I gave it a very lackluster review. Since picking it back up, my tune has definitely changed regarding the salmon toned under eye brightening shade. Back when I first used it, perhaps because I was living in a colder climate, the concealer took a lot of work to blend. The last few weeks have been quite warm so the concealer is a lot more creamy and easy to apply - it literally disappears under my eyes and takes most of my undereye darkness with it! I probably will have to put this concealer away again soon as I get some more color and the shades become too light. I still don't love the regular toned concealer nor the powder so I won't repurchase this little kit. I have a stashed away Tarte undereye corrector that looks like a good replacement so I'm excited to start using that once I've finished the Soap & Glory one.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm pretty surprised that I hit pan on an eyeshadow! It's really rare for that to happen because I simply have so many eyeshadows. The shade I've hit pan on is the midtone matte brown shade from the Wet n' Wild Vanity Palette which was discontinued. I actually talked about this shadow last year and declared it one of my favorite matte brown eyeshadows. You can see based on that post how much I've used of the shadow in a year - granted I don't wear eyeshadow everyday and don't always use this one when I do. It's kind of ironic that I reach for this shadow so often when I have high end shadows that have cost me way more that I hardly use.

That's my little pan update! It's more of a reference for myself than anything else. But I know some people also find enjoyment in seeing panned makeup, whether they're looking for reviews, inspiration or encouragement. What was the last makeup product you hit pan on? Do you also get excited when you make progress when using up products?